Philadelphia’s beverage tax is working

Comments from Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO

November 02, 2017 Categories: Advisories & Comments

DALLAS, November 2, 2017 — At Obesity Week 2017, a national conference on interventions to address obesity, Dr. Sara Bleich presented data on the Influence of Philadelphia Beverage Tax on Prices and Sales. The following comments from Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO are in response these new findings.

“Evaluators released preliminary data that show Philadelphia’s tax is working exactly as intended and exposes industry’s erroneous claims that are meant only to protect their profits at the expense of people’s health.

The data show that sweetened beverage purchases in Philadelphia have declined substantially since the tax took effect which is good for health. Moreover, overall sales in Philadelphia grocery stores remained steady, which is good news for local food sector employees and businesses. 

We are pleased but not surprised by these findings; studies of sugary drink taxes in Berkeley and Mexico have also reported significant declines in purchases of unhealthy beverages. And with the revenue from Philadelphia’s tax being invested in important community priorities—from thousands of additional seats in quality early care and education programs to an ambitious plan to update the city’s parks, libraries and recreation centers—children and families will reap the benefits for years to come.

The American Heart Association remains committed to strongly supporting sugary drink taxes. Sugary drinks are the number one single source of added sugars for people in the United States. These preliminary data add to the evidence that sugary drink taxes can have a powerful impact on efforts to lower the rates of conditions like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.   We are proud to stand with courageous leaders in Philadelphia who care deeply about the health of their residents. We encourage other cities and states to follow their inspiring example.”

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the American Stroke Association

The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke — the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association officially launched in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit StrokeAssociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the Association's science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries: (214) 706-1173

Suzette.Harris@heart.org, (214) 706-1207

For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org